Lizzy Hinds-Hueglin, BA'17, BEd '18, MA '23, is a Research Associate at Western University. 

Lizzy Hinds-Hueglin wears glasses and a turtleneckYou have a Bachelor of Education – what made you decide to continue on with academia?
The Bachelor of Education program taught me that learning is a continual process, which inspired my decision to enter a graduate research program. Following my BEd degree, I pursued a Master of Arts degree in Human Geography. Under the supportive supervision of Dr. Katherine McKittrick and Dr. Carolyn Prouse, I explored early Black presence in Kingston, Ontario dating back to the 18th century. As a biracial individual of African-Caribbean and German descent, I desired to investigate the rooted history of Black peoples in Canada and how the spaces and places they occupied often get displaced from traditional forms of public memory, such as heritage interpretation/designation. My grandparents immigrated to Canada from Barbados and Trinidad and have been members of the Kingston community for over 50 years. I wanted to understand the enduring presence of Black Canada that encompasses multiple geographies, histories, and timelines, which in turn shapes local history.

What are you doing now?
I am currently a Research Associate in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University. I am working with Dr. Miranda Green-Barteet and Dr. Alyssa MacLean on The Black Londoners Project, which aims to digitally map the lives of formerly enslaved Black refugees who settled in London, Canada West after escaping slavery in the United States. We are focusing our research on 16 Black Londoners that shared their oral testimonies with an abolitionist named Benjamin Drew, who transcribed their stories in A North Side of Slavery, published in 1856. The project will take the form of a website using ArcGIS StoryMaps to trace this early and enduring Black community. The Black Londoners Project aims to share academic research in a way that is accessible to public audiences of all ages.  

For Black History Month, I co-authored an article spotlighting The Black Londoners Project with fellow research assistants David Mitterauer, PhD candidate, and Patrick Kinghan, PhD candidate. 

You looked at Black History in Kingston for your MA – what were some of the most interesting facts you learned?
I learned that Kingston’s history includes multiple narratives and events. Specifically, my research focused on the historical presence of Joseph Gutches, a Black man who was enslaved in Kingston during the 18th-19th century. Gutches migrated to Kingston from the United States due to the settlement of a United Empire loyalist and slaveholder, Richard Cartwright. I studied the location in Kingston where Gutches would have lived until his death in 1842, and analysed how his presence in history intersects with white settler narratives connected to local landscapes. As Kingston is a city that identifies strongly with loyalist history, I gained a greater understanding of how Black history occupies space in public memory and disrupts singular interpretations of local history. 

Do you have any ideas in how to integrate local history into the classroom?
Integrating local history into the classroom can be approached in a variety of ways. Educators can allow students to explore digital projects, such as Stones Kingston and Digital Kingston. Additionally, Stones Kingston as a mapping project can offer educators the opportunity to locate these sites with their students outside of the classroom. Another great way to engage with local history is by inviting guest speakers from the community. For example, educators can have researchers, community organizations, and/or community members share their knowledge of Black Canadian history. I also think it’s important to acknowledge how local history can be shared (i.e., through archival research, oral histories, and artwork). Lastly, there is a wide range of literature available for Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior classrooms related to Black Canadian history. While these books may be focused on other places in Canada, I think they demonstrate how Black peoples are present in local histories across the province and the nation.